SNACKS

One of the reasons why I ate myself to 18 stone, was because I consumed (well, that’s putting it nicely, rather, inhaled) snacks. There was always a reason I could find to justify consuming a snack at any hour. If there was something to celebrate, commiserate, if I was anxious, or felt low, I would eat whatever I wanted. Sweet or savoury, anything would go in. Chocolate was a real addiction and Looking back, I can’t believe how much I would consume and not feel sickly. If I eat just a couple of squares these days I really get a sugar rush.

Once I had started to educate myself in food, I started to look at the nutritional values in detail. I’d flip the product over and see what was actually inside the packet. I realised that the order of the ingredients started with the ingredient used in the greatest amount first. Therefore, you know when the ingredients starts with sugars and e-numbers, you’re probably not choosing the best option. I took my new found knowledge and researched good snacking and meal ideas for someone who works out as much as I do.

Below are some great little (and most importantly – quick) recipes to help kick start a workout, or re- fuel during or after a workout.

Protein Balls

Base ingredients: 2 cups of rolled oats, 4tbsp of good quality crunchy peanut butter, 2tbsp flaxseed.  From here, you can add anything. Some different ingredients I like are, dried apricots and white chocolate drops, sultanas, dates, prunes. Rolled in desiccated coconut gives a little cheeky extra flavor. You can even add banana and bake for 20 minutes on a medium heat (if you are craving sugar, or feeling like having a treat, add some milk chocolate drops to really get the tastebuds going) In the past I have added protein powder to bulk up my bites (you may need to increase your peanut butter to give a bit of extra moisture – but I find adding a dash of water helps this) Whizz it all up in the blender and you have yourself around 18 protein balls to keep you gong for the next week or so (I say that, whenever I make a fresh batch I give half of them away so I always try and make a few extra by increasing the ingredients a little) If you have a sweet tooth – you can use Honey or Agave to sweeten (just a little squeeze)

Avo on toast:

Toast some wheat free or sourdough bread, smash some avocado – season with salt and pepper and top with whatever you like – Scrambled or poached egg, smoked mackerel (or both). I love a sweet chili smoked salmon with some Franks hot sauce. This is a really satisfying meal and it will give you bags of energy.

Buddha Bowl:

Quinoa (or an alternative like couscous, buckwheat, puy lentils etc) with roasted veg and steamed kale or broccoli (sweet potato is particularly good in this too). You can add protein (fish or meat) for extra bulk and energy. I top it with a bit of green salad with a dressing (usually cider vinegar base, with some dijon mustard and a squeeze of agave and lemon). I then drizzle some Tahini over the whole dish. This is a great post weight session meal.

Overnight Oats:

1 cup of rolled oats, cover with unsweetened cashew milk (soya, cows milk, almond milk, rice milk – whatever floats your boat here is fine), Flaxseed, sultanas, cinnamon, (again you can add what you like to this – banana, apple, dates, prunes, strawberries, blueberries etc, add Vanilla or maple agave for sweetness if you feel its needed). Leave in the fridge and you’ll have yourself 2-3 servings. This is a really delicious breakfast option.

Tips:

Roast a chicken or turkey on a Sunday and you’ll have protein for days. Its always handy for those quick fix meals. I do the same with my Veg.  Sweet potato, parsnips, carrots, peppers, squash and a load of other seasonal bests –  I roast a load up and keep it in the fridge. With protein and veg ready to go, you have yourself a mid-week roast, pre gym meals like avocado and chicken on toast and you also have the highly rated ‘Buddha Bowl’ and a whole lot of other meals if you are ready to get creative.

I always keep, what I call ‘guilt free’ things in the fridge such as –  beetroot, pickled onions, baby pickles, hot sauces and vinegars, spices and seasonings. They keep your meals full of flavor and always jazz up a salad.

I keep protein balls in my gym bag. Sometimes I need a mid workout snack and I’m always so happy when I remember I have homemade protein balls with me. This is a good snacking tip. I also keep a small tupperware in my handbag with some roasted nuts and fruit as a backup on super busy days.

I have one last tip for those coffee lovers. Im a big fan of a particular coffee chain, I have found that the Oat Milk dairy replacement is high in sugars and calories. Try Almond milk or Cashew milk – Its a fabulous alternative!

I have proven to myself that even with a busy schedule, I can still eat right. Prepping is the key. I have said this a lot, but its my tagline. I hope this helps with anyone starting their journey. I was always ‘scared’ of fat in the beginning, but natural fats are super good for you when weightlifting and cardio! Don’t be scared – come over to the dark side and try it.

Until next time – happy snacking.

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